Digital plant’s value in real numbers

Hannover Messe sessions, displays are focused on how to realize IIoT’s potential as the show celebrates its 70th year.

By Bob Vavra, content manager, CFE Media April 6, 2017

Even in uncertain global political and financial times, the manufacturing revolution continues to gain momentum. The digital plant is becoming a reality, and it brings with it many questions about the strategic and tactical approaches needed to effectively implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

That will be the focus of Hannover Messe 2017 beginning April 24 in Hannover, Germany. Marking its 70th year, Hannover Messe brings together a global audience of manufacturing professionals and industry leaders to the world’s largest industrial trade show. In 2017 Poland will be the Partner Country, a role held by the United States a year ago, and the show’s theme, "Integrated Industry—Creating Value," points to the maturity of the digital plant concept and its evolution into an operational reality.

Technology focus

The five days of Hannover Messe bring more than 200,000 visitors to the sprawling fairgrounds, but even with miles to walk each day, the focus of the trade event remains the challenge of bringing an integrated, digital plant into common practices for large and small manufacturing operations.

On Wednesday, April 26, IHS Markit will present a half-day seminar entitled "Smart Technologies Impacting Industrial Market Dynamics." The three presentations will focus on how robotics, automation and connectivity are changing the way manufacturing plants are designed and operated, and the challenges in each of those areas.

Jan Zhang, senior manager of IHS Markit’s manufacturing technology group, will lead the discussion about how the focus of the discussion on robotics has shifted from how quickly the industrial robots market will grow to how robotics technology will help to reshape manufacturing.

This presentation will review key trends relating to robotics and discuss how they are likely to impact the market as well as the manufacturing world, including the convergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning with robots and its impact on manufacturing.

Jeremie Bouchaud, IHS Markit’s senior director of MEMS & Sensors, and Alex West, the principal analyst for manufacturing technology, will discuss how sensors and cloud computing are providing new data streams (and new business models) for manufacturers. They also will look at how ready today’s manufacturing sector is for these changes, and what they mean for automation vendors and customers.

The final session will be lead by Mark Watson, senior research manager for IHS Markit’s manufacturing technology practice and a member of Plant Engineering’s Editorial Advisory Board. Watson will discuss research around the biggest challenges and opportunities for manufacturers to implement IIoT strategies, and a look at the changing automation component market.

Some of that market penetration already is taking place in Poland, which will double its 2016 vendor attendance at this year’s Hannover Messe. Hannover officials noted in the media preview of the 2017 event that Poland’s manufacturing digitization is moving forward quickly. Today, more than 4% of the nation’s GDP is tied to digital manufacturing technology. The effort also has government support and financing for the country’s R&D sector.

Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.